Photo: Drunk Driving
Officials in Huntington Beach, after seeing police battling the high number of drunk drivers in the area for some time now, are getting creative when it comes to deterrents. They’re hoping that shame + Facebook will equal no more drunk drivers.
City official Devin Dwyer has already begun using Facebook to shame people into no longer driving after one too many cervezas, though the official vote for it was not until Tuesday. The mug shots of serial drunk drivers are displayed on the he wanted to post the mug shots of all drunk drivers, but has since focused more on those who repeatedly endanger themselves and others. He said he came up with the “wall of shame” after the local paper stopped publishing the arrest logs.
“If it takes shaming people to save lives, I am willing to do it,” Dwyer told an AP reporter. “I’m hoping it prevents others from getting behind the wheel … inebriated.”
Comparable to 55 other California cities of about the same size, Huntington Beach is ranked No. 1 for alcohol related fatalities, but despite 195 people being killed or injured in these incidents in 2009, not everyone is a fan of Dwyer’s Facebook idea.
Some local police officials expressed that “law enforcement is not about public shaming,” while others worry that town residents may object to posting mug shots of people arrested, not tried and convicted, in DUI cases.
Huntington Beach councilwoman, Connie Boardman disagrees with the tactic simply because she said it won’t work.
“People who habitually drink and drive are alcoholics and are not going to be shamed by this,” she told a reporter. “But their parents and their spouses would be mortified.”
Despite Dwyer’s realization of using the social networking site to dissuade people to drink and drive, Huntington Beach isn’t the first city to use the site in such a way.
Honolulu, Hawaii and Evesham Township, New Jersey have both used Facebook to post their drivers’ mug shots. Though in Evesham, where they were posting every DUI mug shot, a county prosecutor shut down their site after only 4 months, and in Honolulu, despite a huge fan base that even resulted in a fan page, their page was removed without explanation.
In California, the law allows police to release photos of people arrested, so no lawsuits are anticipated over the Facebook-shame deterrent.